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Adapting research to the 21st century – the Swedish Biobank Register

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Abstract:

In Sweden, there are currently nearly 600 biobanks. The Swedish Biobank Register (SBR) is an on-going national investment by the county councils working to capture information in one database about all biobank samples collected from patients attending the Swedish medical health care. The aim of the SBR is to gather enough information about biobank samples to be able to physically trace the samples. The BioBanking and Molecular Resource Infrastructure of Sweden (BBMRI.se) has been given the task of extending the SBR Information System (IS) with functionality useful for research in connection to health care, quality registers and large patient cohorts. The research extension is called BBMRI catalogue over sample collections for research. To achieve this, the SBR-IS will be extended with attributes useful for both epidemiological and clinical research enabling authorized researchers to search for samples stored at non-clinical biobanks nationwide. The Swedish Biobank Register, together with the BBMRI research catalogue, will be a unique resource for research. SBR-IS will contain information about biobank samples collected by both clinical and population-based biobanks specifically established for research purposes but BBMRI.se researchers will only be granted access to data related to population-based biobanks. As BBMRI.se is the Swedish hub of the pan-European biobank project BBMRI, whose goal is to promote excellence and efficacy in European life science research, the BBMRI research catalogue will also be made compatible with the European register by applying its minimum data set describing biobanks and their objects. In this paper we describe the implementation. Our belief is that it will pave the way for connecting biobanks on an international level as well as stimulate collaborations and optimize usage of biobank samples. In the long run, patients and sample donors will benefit as new results with high statistical power emerge from large scale studies.

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